We’d like to think of New Bern as our big sister up the river. She’s the nearest major metropolitan area and where you’ll find the closest Starbucks, Chipotle and movie theater.

It’s an easy 22.3 miles up Hwy. 55 or about a 30 minute ride if you’d prefer to travel by power boat. Either way, once you arrive, you’ll want to make some time to walk around and explore the rich cultural heritage embedded in every block of the central business district.

Cedar Grove Cemetery

St Cyprian's Episcopal Church tower and trees.
View of St Cyprian’s Episcopal Church as seen from the Cedar Grove Cemetery.

If you’re into photography and history then the Cedar Grove Cemetery is a must see location. There are plenty of notable people buried here and it’s also home to a Confederate memorial. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

It’s name stems from the beautiful Cedar Trees that dominate the south entrance near the corner of George and Queen Streets. The Spanish Moss that dangles from their branches and the stunning coquina perimeter wall will have you feeling like you’re in the deep South.

Shops in Downtown New Bern

When you explore downtown New Bern you won’t find loads of empty buildings, chain retailers or drab professional offices. What you’ll find is a nice mix of local businesses selling quality products ranging from vintage clothes to stand up paddle boards and modern bicycles.

Drag the slider to see how New Bern has changed over the years.

Take a step back in time and explore a hardware store that would make your grandfather proud or visit a framing shop with an impressive selection of fine art from local artists hanging on the walls.

Food and Drinks in Downtown New Bern

Chicken and Waffles from the Baker's Kitchen in New Bern.
A Southern delicacy, Chicken and Waffles, done right at Baker’s Kitchen.

There’s no shortage of fine places to eat in downtown New Bern. The availability of fresh local seafood means you’re guaranteed to find a meal that was swimming in the water the day before. If your palate fancies some good ole southern fixins then check out the Chicken & Waffles at the Baker’s Kitchen. Or if you just want a cold beer and a great burger then stop in to the Chelsea.

Take it Outside

Fly fishing on the rivers around New Bern, NC.
The waters around New bern offer up a fisherman’s paradise.

New Bern is surrounded by water and rural roads are just a stones throw away from downtown. If you’re into fishing and paddling sports then you’ll have no problems finding something to do.

Bring your bike and catch a group ride with Atomic Cycles Cycling Club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during daylight savings time. Bring your wallet because its standard operating procedure to rehydrate at the Chelsea with the coldest beer in town!

Stand Up Outfitters can point you to one of the several places near downtown to launch a kayak or SUP. Or just visit their location near Lawson Creek Park and launch from there.

Theatrical Performances in the Grecian spirit

Athens theatre downtown New Bern, NC.
If a live performance is more your style be sure to check out the Athens theater.

The Athens theatre opened in 1911 and underwent major renovations in 1981 with additions being added as recently as 2016. What you see from the exterior is indicative of the amazing performances you’ll see inside.

Note: The theatre is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. There is a grand reopening scheduled for May but please check with the theatre before making plans.

A Drink or Dessert with a Neuse River View

Bridges over the Neuse River outside of New Bern, NC
Bridges over the Neuse River outside of New Bern, NC

It’s been a full day for you visiting New Bern, NC. Before you make the easy drive back to Arlington Place why not have a drink or dessert and soak in the view over the Neuse River?

Persimmons restaurant is a favorite for visitors and with a view like this one we can understand why! If you’d like to learn more about what to do on a day trip to New Bern check out VisitNewBern.com for a thorough detailing of all the resources available in the area.

Full moon over the Neuse River as seen from Persimmons Restaurant in New Bern, NC.
When the day is over and it’s time to unwind treat yourself to a drink or dessert with a view like this one from the deck at Persimmons Restaurant.